Times may be lean, but that doesn’t mean you have to punish your taste buds or brown bag it every day. SoCal is filled with tons of cheap, good food. Here are our picks of how to dine on a dime.
1. Skooby’s: Pink’s Shmink’s! Skip the line of tourists clamoring to get a Harry Potter Hogwarts bratwurst and head to this hole in the wall on Hollywood Boulevard for better and cheaper hot dogs. Plus, the garlic fries and aioli sauce are to die for.
2. King Taco: Bow down before the reigning monarch of carne asada tacos and sopes. You can walk away with a bag of mouth-watering Mexican fare for under 10 bones, easily. If you like it hot, ask for the green salsa (multiple locations).
3. Sevan Chicken Rotisserie: With three locations (Tujunga, Glendale, Chatsworth), this Mediterranean spot lives up to the claim on its menu of offering “The Best Tasting Chicken.” Opt for the ¼ lunch special and you get a ¼ chicken, two sides, sauce, and pita for $5.96.
4. Flying Pig Truck: Food trucks are all the rage in SoCal right now, and Flying Pig stands out amongst the pack. They serve up Asian and Pacific Rim eats with French technique and it’s all dirt cheap. Check them out online for a schedule of locations.
5. Giamela’s Submarine Sandwiches: If you can fit one of their subs in your mouth with ease, you should be dating more. The “small” costs $4.50 and will fill you up for the rest of the day. Every sandwich is topped with a mixture of onion, pickle, and tomato goodness (multiple locations).
6. Grand Central Market: The vendors at this downtown indoor swap meet of food represent all corners of the culinary world, including Mexico, China, Japan, Hawaii, and Italy, to name just a few—and they do so at incredibly low prices.
7. Lucy’s Drive-In: If you find yourself in need of greasy chicken tacos at 3 in the morning, Lucy is here for you. Open 24 hours, you can get an entrée with rice, beans, and a salad for around $6.
8. Porto’s Bakery: Chances are, there’s going to be a long line at this popular Cuban eatery, but it’ll be well worth it. Try the potato ball, meat pie appetizers or a Cuban sandwich with a side of plantains. The whole menu is easy on your wallet (Burbank and Glendale).
9. King and I Sesame Cafe: After taking your picture with the John Wayne statue in front of the Hustler magazine offices, stroll down La Cienega to the King and I Siamese Café in Beverly Hills to feast on their killer Thai egg rolls, chicken satay, and chicken curry.
10. The Meet Market: Lest we forget our vegetarian/vegan friends, Silverlake’s Meet Market hosts a $10 all-you-can-eat brunch on weekends, complete with vegan French toast, seitan sausage, and tofu scrambles.